Home Bar Basics: Essential Glassware for Cocktails and Beer

To have a good glass of whiskey (or rum, or tequila, or, or, or, …), you need two things: the spirit of your choice and an actual glass. Yes, you could drink from the bottle, but sometimes that doesn’t go over well with the other four people who are planning to have something to drink, too.

And while you could just invest in red Solo cups the rest of your life, think about that. Do you really want to be known as that guy? No. No you don’t. Solo Cup Steve is not a becoming nickname for anyone. That’s why it’s important to invest in some decent bar glassware for the next time you want to drink something.

You might not need all of these, but having a variety will help accommodate any number of palates and choices that guests may make when you have them over.  (In addition, some of these glasses, like pints, wine glasses, and brandy snifters, can be used for cocktails as well as drinking something straight.) As far as how many, think about your own entertaining. Is it normally you and a partner? Are you inviting your guy friends over? At least two is good, but think about what you need and make a guess from there.

Pint Glass


If you’re going to drink beer, you’re going to want pint glasses. While you can drink straight out of a bottle or can and while, in the past few years, there have been a variety of glasses designed for specific types of beer, having a couple pint glasses around are a solid option for just about any beer.

See It

Wine Glasses (Red, White, and Sparkling)


Another staple, wine glasses come in two general shapes—one made for white wine (a little taller) and one made for red wine (more balloon-shaped). You can also choose from several different sizes (ranging from around eight ounces up to as many as twenty) and styles (stemless, for instance), but having a couple wine glasses for each kind will really help when you’re trying to get the most out of your vino. In addition, sparkling wine glasses are handy as they are designed to get the most out of your bubbly.

See It

Shot Glass


A multi-purpose glass, the shot glass is good for everything from measuring for cocktails to pouring one out when you plan on slamming it down. Need we say more?

See It

Sherry Glass


Sherry glasses usually hold three or four ounces, and are ideal for aperitifs, digestifs, and cordials. In addition, obviously, they are intended to hold sherries and other fortified wines, such as ports.

See It

Glencairn Glass


If you’ve ever been to a whisky tasting, chances are you’ve used a Glencairn glass. They look like what would happen if a shot glass and a brandy snifter had a night of fun together, and they are great for drinking whiskey of all sorts. The design allows you to nose your whiskey in the proper way while still holding a healthy dram worth of the good stuff.

See It

Cordial Glass


Cordial glasses, also known as liqueur glasses, are one-ounce in sized and come in a variety of shapes, almost all usually accompanied by long stems. They are used to serve, as you’ve probably already guessed, cordials and liqueurs.

See It

Brandy Snifter

Generic-Brandy-Snifter A commanding presence on any shelf of glassware, a brandy snifter is designed so that your hand can warm the brandy inside. The rim of the glass is narrower than the bowl so that the aromas released by the slight warming stay trapped in the glass. This is also a great option for serving whiskies and other high-end spirits.

See It

Collins Glass

tom collins gin cocktail

Named for its original function as the vessel for a Tom Collins (or John Collins) cocktail, the Collins glass is tall and narrow and is great for a wide variety of cocktails.

See It

Coupe Glass

home bar glassware gettyimages 582262890
Denisfilm/Getty Images

An open-mouthed, shallow cocktail glass, the coupe glass is great not only for cocktails, but for drinking Champagne. The glass was modeled on the breast of King Louis XV’s mistress. We’re not kidding.

See It

Old Fashioned Glass

home bar glassware gettyimages 661986692
bhofack2/Getty Images

A gold standard for whiskey folks. Whether you want it neat, in an Old Fashioned, or you want something else entirely, the Old Fashioned (or rocks) glass is essential to a successful home back.

See It

Cocktail Glass

Vodka Martini
Image Source/Getty Images

Call it a cocktail glass or call it a Martini glass, just don’t call it late for happy hour. Kidding. The cocktail glass works for a number of cocktails that are chilled and served up.

See It

Copper Mule Mug

home bar glassware moscow mule mug getty images
Fudio/Getty Images

If you’ve had a cocktail in your life, you know what this is for: mules. Moscow, Kentucky, it doesn’t matter where the mule is coming from, this mug has pretty much one purpose other than looking nice.

See It

Food & Drink

Top Poppers: The Best Popcorn Makers for Your At-Home Enjoyment

What’re you waiting for? Get things poppin’ with our favorite popcorn makers
Food & Drink

5 Best Hangover Cure Products for a Better Tomorrow

Sometimes, you need a little extra help after a long night.

Stay Fit This Winter with the Best Off-Season Training Gear for Men

We’ve pulled together some essentials for training outside long after the good weather’s gone.
Food & Drink

What a Crock! The 9 Best Slow Cookers to Shop Before the Holidays

It’s almost unbelievable how impressive slow-cooked food can be, given the minimal time and effort it requires.